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View from the Top: David Angress, ADAM Audio

There are few studio monitor manufacturers with proprietary technology quite as striking, both visually and sonically, as ADAM Audio.

There are few studio monitor manufacturers with proprietary technology quite as striking, both visually and sonically, as ADAM Audio. Defined by its evolved X-ART ribbon tweeter technology, borne of physicist Oskar Heil’s Air Motion Transformer (AMT) invention, the notably low distortion and extended highs (up to 50 kHz!) of ADAM’s brand-wide feature have created a legion of devotees.

Directing ADAM Audio today is David Angress, who grew up in San Francisco in the 1960s among a bevy of musician friends, dabbling in electronics since his pre-teen years. “I had a particular fascination with transducers, and I became their tech guy,” he explains of his role in the local community. “I was this young guy fixing their gear, recording their gigs, and building and running P.A.s. All of this caused my original career goal of becoming an electrical engineer to veer towards working with professional audio equipment. After a career spanning some decades in the audio industry—including senior executive positions at companies including AKG Acoustics, Harman Professional and Guitar Center as well as owning my own consulting business—I’m excited to be at the helm of ADAM Audio.”

Decades before his recent appointment at ADAM, Angress serendipitously met Heil and discovered his development of ribbon tweeter technology. “Fast forward to 1999, and I met the founder of ADAM Audio in Germany, who had refined the AMT. For the last 15 years or so, I have followed the development of ADAM Audio, always interested in its famous handcrafted tweeter and having tremendous respect for the company’s fine engineering and superior sounding products. So naturally I jumped at the chance to lead this organization when the company’s owners offered me this role.”

As Angress explains it, ADAM Audio is “a German precision tool maker,” rather than simply a speaker manufacturer. “We are in the business of making these precision tools for creative professionals whose choice of audio recording and mixing products is essential to their resulting project,” he continues. “What a creative professional hears on an ADAM monitor happens to translate particularly well to other environments, allowing them to accurately hear exactly what the end-user listener will hear. The clarity and low distortion of ADAM speakers also allows the engineer to hear every nuance of the mix as well as have much longer listening sessions without ear fatigue. As a result, ADAM’s products have found happy homes in renowned professional recording studios, broadcast facilities and post houses around the world, and as monitors for nearfield use in smaller spaces. Many of our professional studio monitors have been repurposed for use as high-end hi-fi speakers as well. If an instrument or sound is there, an ADAM speaker will reproduce it.”

Angress reports that, as of late, ADAM Audio has experienced a renewed energy in delivering premium monitoring products to market, bolstered by its worldwide network of offices, distributors and passionate end users. “In addition to our headquarters in Berlin, ADAM Audio also has offices in Nashville, London and Beijing, and we work with distribution partners worldwide,” he notes. “ADAM, which has a long rich history of helping creative professionals record and mix award-winning projects, has now been re-energized by our increased investments in R&D, product management, personnel, distribution and modern manufacturing techniques—and we continue to build our world-famous tweeter by hand in our Berlin facility. All of our products are engineered here in Berlin. Every ADAM Audio speaker includes the German hand-built precision X-ART tweeter, and each system is individually calibrated to meet ADAM’s rigorous standards.”

ADAM has consistently attracted clients within the pro audio market, serving those who choose gear based on quality first, price second. This, explains Angress, goes hand-in-hand with the company’s manufacturing philosophy, in which products comprised of research-heavy technologies are adopted by some of the recording industry’s most illustrious pros, then trickling down to the rest of the market. “ADAM Audio began at the top of the market, designing and manufacturing studio monitors for high-end music studios and European broadcast facilities,” he explains. “In the years since, our products have continued to evolve as new ideas and technologies have become available, and the company also introduced monitors that are extremely popular for nearfield use. Today, ADAM serves many areas in the audio marketplace; we manufacture monitors for the high-end of the market which sell for as much as $50,000 per pair while also producing products to suit the ever-growing market of conservatively priced monitors designed for musician-owned studios.”

“Our focus is on precision manufacturing and handmade components built by experienced people who have been with ADAM Audio for many, many years,” Angress continues. “We are constantly talking to our customers to learn how their workflow is changing. At the same time, our engineers are looking at emerging technologies in electronics, components, acoustic technologies and materials science in order to continually improve the value of our products. From engineering to manufacturing to customer service, all of our team members at ADAM are keenly aware that our products are designed and built for use by discriminating creative professionals whose work and livelihood depend upon having accurate, precision audio tools. We have a reputation for high-quality engineering and superior sound, and intend to continue earning it in the years ahead.”

Angress emphasizes that ADAM Audio’s presence in the studio monitor marketplace stems from incorporating both style-based refinements and measurable technologies into its designs. “We believe that combining our creative experience and engineering know-how has allowed us to produce products which blend the best part of both art and science, so that creative audio professionals who use ADAM Audio loudspeakers as tools of their trade can enjoy their listening experiences and produce their best work. ADAM Audio is proud to be a contributor to the creative process. We have done a heck of a good job with that and are very proud of it. We will continue to produce precision, handmade, evolutionary and magical German designs. Our reenergized R&D group is hard at work behind closed doors on producing the next generation of exciting ADAM Audio products.”

ADAM Audio